Stop Letting Social Anxiety Control Your Life

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional; all tips from this article are ones I have personally found useful.

For years, social anxiety has acted as a weight on my shoulders. Fear was the motivating factor behind every social aspect of my life, including going to events, forming friendships and generally anything where I had to make conversation. I found myself dreading anywhere I had to be in public, and often cancelled on events I did not feel 100% comfortable going to. If you can relate to this, then you probably feel as fed up as I do. Luckily, there are a few tips you can use to help you feel more comfortable in social situations.

1. Remember that not everything you do is socially awkward

Oftentimes, social anxiety will make you beat yourself up over every little social interaction you have. Have you ever accidentally said “you too!” to a waiter when they told you to enjoy your food? To someone with social anxiety, this might be something they can’t stop thinking about for days after it happens and might lower their confidence for every social interaction they have in the future. When this happens to me, I try to place myself in the shoes of the person I interacted with. After doing this, my social mishap does not seem like that big of a deal.

2. Stop using negative coping strategies

After a social blunder, you might be motivated to isolate yourself for the next 500 years. But this can make you feel further cut off from society and decrease your confidence. In order to truly get better, you have to continuously put yourself into social situations. It’s difficult, but you cannot keep making excuses to not partake in social activities.

3. Restructure the way you look at anxiety

Instead of seeing anxiety as a horrible thing ruining your life, it helps to see anxiety as a natural reaction or a false alarm to something we feel uncomfortable with. Next time you have to go to a social event, use a technique called the “yes, but…” In this case, reaffirm your negative thoughts with a positive one. For example, if you are nervous to do a presentation, think; “Yes, I have to talk in front of all these people, but I have practiced hard and no one will care if I mess up.”And there you have it! A few simple tips I have found useful, and hopefully you have too. Remember, dealing with anxiety disorders is never easy, and the road to recovery can be imperfect and bumpy. So, go easy on yourself, okay?